1882 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

John Dennis

W. J. Courthope, Note in Works of Alexander Pope (1871-89) 4:316-17.



John Dennis was born in 1657 and died in 1734. He was educated at Harrow and at Caius College, Cambridge, whence he is said, though probably incorrectly, to have been expelled. He afterwards travelled in France and Italy, and acquired the dislike of foreigners he manifested in his writings. He was equally violent as Whig and Critic, and his infirmities of temper were so great, as almost to justify Pope's imputation of madness. Pope was the first aggressor in the quarrel, as he plainly alluded to Dennis in his line in the Essay on Criticism: "But Appius reddens at each word you speak." Dennis's retaliation, however, was out of all proportion to the offence.